Rock’s in the Road

The following was written for the February 2: Flash Fiction Challenge at Carrot Ranch.

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“Rock’s in the road.”

“Already?”

“Getting faster.”

“Guess it is.”

It was hot out, the sun high.  Moving the rock was hard work.

“You gotta stop this, Darlin.” he drawled at the stone.  Laying his hand on it, he felt the vibration, like it was purring without sound.

He wondered if they ought to call somebody.  Rocks shouldn’t purr, even silently.  Rocks shouldn’t move on their own, no matter how slow.

“Alright then,” he said, putting his tired shoulder against the vibrating mass and shoving.  He wished, not for the first time, it had never fallen from the sky.

(99 words)

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Puddle Jumping

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Photo Credit Jessia Haines via FFfAW.

Today’s tidbit is in response to FFfAW 100th Challenge, and also my first time participating in this site’s challenges.

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SPLASH
SPLASH

It had rained for days and day, now the world was awash in rainbow puddles and Anthony was focused on jumping in each and every one while Herny looked on in horror.

“You shouldn’t to that, Tony.  You’re gonna fall in one and drown.”

SPLASH
SPLASH

“Who says?”

“My Nana says.  Some of them are deeper than they look.  You’ll fall in and drown.”

“Your Nana just doesn’t want you to get your boots dirty.”

SPLASH
SPLASH

SPLOOT.

Carefully Henry walked to where he had last seen Anthony.  Standing at the edge of the puddle, looking down, he could barely see his friends face as he floated downward into the puddled depths.

“Told you so.” he said, before continuing to walk home, carefully avoiding any puddles along the way.

(131 words)

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If you liked my story, or even if you didn’t, click the blue froggy below to see everyone else’s flash fictions on this prompt.

Ordering Takeout

The waitress was new.

He took more meals at the diner than he did at home, and was familiar with the staff.  She was new and refreshingly fresh.

The other girls knew him by name, Denise flirted, but not as much as she used to.  Laney made a point not to go to his table anymore, even if he sat in her area.

That is why he got the new girl.  Laney sent her out, bright white Keds squeaking on the floor, fresh pad open to take his order.

She was a redhead, freckles thick over the bridge of her nose.  She had a soft body, not fat but a little too round in the waist, as the hips.  He could see her in middle age being one of those women who wouldn’t be able to tie her own shoes, but not yet.   Right now she was near as perfect as a young woman could get.

He wondered if the freckles ran across her shoulders?  Down her back?

She reminded him a lot of an old girlfriend.  Back when he was young and handsome, back when girls were conquests for him.  She had been a redhead too.  She had been a cheerleader.  She had been a huge disappointment when she got pregnant.

Normally he didn’t ask so early, not the first night he met a girl.  Not even the second or third.  He usually waited a week.  Let them get to know him, know he was harmless really.  Let them talk to the other girls first.

But Laney was here tonight, and Laney would tell her quick.

So he asked, “Will you take me home with you tonight?  To spend the night?”

The shock on her face he expected and was happy to see it was shock and nothing more.  Sometimes shock turned to disgust.  Sometimes to anger.  When he was lucky it was eagerness.  He thought he saw a little eager in the way her mouth turned up at the corner.

“I’ll pay you,” he said.  He gave her his price.

She disappeared in the back with the squeak of a shoe, the swish of a door.  Laney was back there, she would tell it like it was.

The large silver clock over the counter ticked.  Another waitress washed the counter at the bar, trying to look at him without looking at him.  They all knew, and they all waited to see who he would ask.

She reappeared sans apron, grandmotherly brown should bag over one arm.

“Shifts almost over anyway,” she said.  She took his arm when he offered it.  Walked close to him as she led him to her car.

At her apartment, she asked, “How will you get home?”

He told her he’d call his driver to come get him.

“I’ve got to shower first,” she said, “I smell like older burgers and grease.”

She locked the door to the bathroom, he heard the click.  It didn’t bother him.  Gave him time to look around.

Her apartment was tiny.  Most of them were.  Hers was smaller than most.  The kitchen and living room together.  The bathroom she had locked herself in.  A bedroom, dark and secret.

She kept it well clean.  No dust and dirt, discarded cans, empty pizza boxes.  She was young, working hard, earning good tips.  He bet she saved.  She wanted to go places in the world.

On top of her huge and ancient television was a photo.  He walked over, picked it up.  The woman looked familiar.  An older version of the girl.  Her mother then.  Maybe he was wrong, and her soft curves wouldn’t turn to ugly bloat.  The woman was beautiful, stunning even.

Sitting the photo aside he turned away as he heard the water stop with a squeal.

His waitress stepped out, hair damp, wrapped in a large and soft towel.  He thought for a moment about asking her about the woman in the photo.  Who was she?  Why did her photo stir such a sense of de ja vu in him?

But her freckles did go across her shoulders, and when she dropped the towel he saw they covered the tops of her breasts too.

He forgot about the photo.

Many hours later he woke from a dream, a nightmare really.  His last conquest before college, the cheerleader, nineteen years ago more or less.  In the dream, she was telling him again that she was pregnant, that the child was his.  He was having none of it.  He had called her horrible names, said things he didn’t really mean because he did love her.  But he couldn’t be a father.

In his nightmare, she had killed herself.

In reality, he didn’t know what became of her.  He left, went to college, lost his looks, gained his wealth.

Gently he raised himself from the bed and dressed.  His waitress shifted a little in her sleep.  Taking out his wallet he counted out the bills.  All hundreds, to the amount he promised her.

Light from the lamp outside touched her side of her face.  Her red hair.  Her freckles.  So beautiful.  So familiar.

Suddenly he knew why the woman in the photo had looked so familiar. Why hours of being with his waitress had given him nightmares instead of deep and restful sleep.

She looked just like her mother did, nineteen years ago…

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Inspired by Recognize.
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